We Are All Thirsting For Living Water
In both the first and third readings for this Sunday, people are thirsty. The Israelites in the desert are so thirsty that they have begun to pine away for their slavery in Egypt. “Why did you make us leave Egypt?” The Samaritan woman has come to the well to draw water, no doubt for all kinds of uses; but for sure, to alleviate her own daily thirst and that of her household. Last, Jesus is thirsty; thirsty enough to start a conversation that is socially unacceptable.
On the surface of these biblical stories, the water that each person is thirsting for is physical water, the element essential to all life on this planet. Without it, all planetary life would die. Yet, Jesus uses this thirst for physical water to draw us to see that at another level, we are all thirsting for living water.
What is this living water? Might not Paul be giving us the answer when he states in the second reading that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Yes, the living water is the very energy of the Trinity, the energy of love. How delightful that Paul’s image of this love being poured into our hearts so well complements the image of living water, quenching the thirst of our hearts!
And what is Jesus thirsting for? Jesus wants us to say “yes” to the “gift of God,” to ask for the living water that is being offered to us. Jesus wants us to let go of our daily efforts to fill our buckets with things that don’t satisfy our hearts. He wants us to quit looking for happiness either in the past, the “the good old days,” or in the future, and trust that God’s love, always with us in the present, is enough. Jesus wants us to say “yes” to the water that will become a fountain within us, “leaping up to provide eternal life.” He wants us to wake up to the fact that this living fountain of God’s love is the source of the human capacity to give and receive love. Let this awareness be our food and drink. We have God’s loving power within us to move forward with generous hearts, to be loving in difficult situations, to be respectful and even attentive to those with whom we disagree, to be compassionate to those in need. Let us claim our living water and boldly live out our lives in love and compassion.
Sister Rosemary is a member of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She is an Evansville native who grew up as a member of St. Benedict Cathedral Parish. She completed elementary school at St. Benedict Cathedral School and graduated from Reitz Memorial High School.